Matrimony is a sacrament in the service of communion. As explained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, matrimony (along with holy orders) is ” directed towards the salvation of others; if they contribute as well to personal salvation, it is through service to others that they do so” (No. 1534). The Sacrament of Matrimony builds up the People of God, and it is in service of that mission that the sacrament contributes to the salvation of the married persons themselves.
The Church has become even more observant of and reverent toward the extraordinary witness of married persons for their holiness in recent decades. When Pope Francis canonized Louis and Zélie Martin together in 2015, the Church heralded the gift of these two disciples as worthy of universal veneration precisely as spouses to one another. Not only were they and their family held up for reverence, but so was their marital bond.
In the holiness of married persons, we can find the beauty of Christ — the beauty that saves the world. This is the beauty of lives given over in the service of communion: through enduring suffering, bestowing life and enacting charity. When we revere and follow the witness of married saints, they show us not just the beauty and meaning of marriage, but indeed the beauty and meaning to which marriage is ordered: the gift of communion in Christ.
We will look to four married couples to perceive something of their holiness and appreciate how they fulfilled their vocations in the service of communion. The first couple is the one mentioned above — Louis and Zélie — who were canonized together. The other three are couples where one spouse has been publicly revered for their holiness (St. Gianna Beretta Molla, Blessed Franz Jägerstätter and Servant of God Elisabeth Leseur) and who thereby shines light on their respective spouses and the union shared between them. For each couple, we will review Scripture verses — ones commonly used in wedding liturgies — to which these particular spouses distinctly bear witness.